Wednesday, September 28, 2011
But first I wanted to post about something that is very important to me. I first heard about milksharing in the news with angry mobs of people denouncing the practice and participating in the traditional mommy wars. I am always surprised at how hot buttons issues can bring out the best in people when they have a computer and internet access.
When I had Colin, I diligently got up each morning on maternity leave and pumped so I could have a large freezer stash ready and waiting for when I returned to work.
Then Colin got sick.
I had no idea what I had eaten the weeks prior and I had to assume that all of my milk was contaminated with milk and soy proteins. So I took everything out of the freezer, defrosted it and poured it down the drain. I cried and cried for all the time and effort lost, but also I now had no safety net. The only formulas that Colin could tolerate smelled of dog food and were extremely expensive. The type of formula he needed we couldn't buy in a store and we needed to get it at the pharmacy. Our insurance would not pay for this even though it was medically necessary.
Thankfully he could tolerate human milk.
So we continued our breastfeeding relationship on a restricted diet and he continued to grow and thrive. There were many a days that I was panicked since for well over his first year of life I was his ONLY source of nutrition. If I got sick or had a drop in my supply there weren't many other options that I could provide.
Oh how I wish I knew about milksharing then. I could have given that freezer stash to a needy mom. I could have found another mom who was on a restricted diet and gotten some milk from her.
Fast forward to me having Charlotte and being a little obsessive about building a freezer stash. Several 100 ounces later I no longer had room in either of my freezers and decided to give it away. As much as I worried about my insurance policy being gone in my freezer, it was never a problem. Charlotte always had enough milk with just a little extra in the freezer for an emergency. I never rebuilt my stash to that capacity again but as she turns 1 year old next week I realize that everything I pump now is a bonus. I am so grateful for that.
I realize that this isn't something that lots of people talk about. But we need to talk about it. This isn't about making people feel bad for choosing formula. It's about human milk being available but not accessible to everyone. I choose to breastfeed, I nurse in public, I milkshare. However, I also let my children play with plastic toys, watch TV, and eat at McDonald's. As parents we all make choices that are the best for our families, it's just so much easier when we know all the options that are available to us.
The End. :-)